Gulf Shores insurance – like many other goods and services – depends on several factors and can vary from carrier to carrier, and house to house. Homeowners insurance experts say that insurance premiums and coverages can very from one house to the next, even if they’re on the same block in a subdivision. With the cost of living seemingly always on the rise, shouldn’t you be vigilant in making sure you’re not paying more than you should be for Gulf Shores insurance premiums for your home? Let’s take a look at a few tips that may help you get the very best deal on your homeowners insurance.
Gulf Shores Insurance: Ways to Save Money
Bundle, bundle and bundle some more. If there’s one word that’s more often suggested and sold to consumers today, it’s “bundle.” The concept has always been around. Early general stores offered their customers discounts if they bought feed, seeds and planting equipment together. The merchant was able to increase his total sale and, in exchange for the higher sale, he could offer a small savings to this customer. Insurance, like telephone, cable and Internet companies these days do the same thing. Many insurance providers will offer as much as a 15% discount or more on your homeowners insurance premium if you allow them to bundle it with your automobile or other insurance coverage. Usually, it’s a "win-win” for the consumer since he has all his insurance coverage in one convenient place and only has to deal with one company in the event of an accident or other loss.
Inquire about other available discounts. Insurance carriers sometimes advertise only some of their discounts, but fail to mention others. Often, just asking your agent about available discounts may lead to positive results and money-saving policy premiums on your Gulf Shores insurance.
Prepare your home for disasters. While none of us wants to think about any kind of fire, peril or natural disaster, they do happen. If you live in an area of the country known for natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes or wildfires, it’s best to be as prepared as possible. Some insurance companies can save you up to 30% or more on your homeowners insurance if you perform a few basic disaster preparedness steps. While most major insurance carriers cover homes meeting the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) requirements to get the highest discounts, ask your agent about what his company offers. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that making a few minor improvements or performing a handful of preventative maintenance will pay off in the event of a natural disaster.
Install a burglar alarm system. Burglary or vandalism to your home is one of the leading reasons insurance claims are so high. Subsequently, your Gulf Shores insurance premiums can be significantly decreased by installing a burglar alarm to reduce the risk of your home being burglarized. Homeowners who install quality alarm systems may be able to save as much as 20% in insurance premiums. Due to the proliferation and popularity of the accompanying technology, the cost of alarm systems has come down dramatically in recent years. The savings on your insurance premiums will likely enable you to recoup your investment in a short period of time.
Increase your deductible. By raising your deductible, that is, the amount you have to pay out of pocket before the insurance company will pay the remainder of your claim limits, you can save a substantial amount of money. Gulf Shores insurance deductibles can range from $500 to $5,000 or more. Of course, a higher deductible means the insurance carrier is less likely to have to pay a claim – meaning they are willing to pass some of those savings on to you. A word of caution, however: Make sure you can afford to pay the deductible in the event of a loss. Having a too-high deductible that you can’t pay will only lead to additional problems when and if you have a fire, peril or other loss.
Don’t carry more insurance on your home than you need. In nearly every case, you should carry no more than full market coverage – and it’s usually worth having that amount of coverage. We recommend you have your home inspected by an independent contractor who can provide you a second opinion of its value. Beware of insurance agents that inflate your home’s value to get you to pay higher premiums. And, just as a reminder, the land on which your home is situated can’t burn down, so there’s no need to include its value in the overall replacement coverage of your home and any outbuildings, etc.
Maintain a good credit score. Believe it or not, your credit score can impact your Gulf Shores home insurance premium costs. Insurance carriers – like a growing number of businesses – reward their customers for paying their bills on time. Conversely, if they deem you a credit risk or a slow-payer, the premiums may be higher than normal.
Review your policy and premium rates every year. Insurance rules and regulations change from time to time. In addition, the cost of replacement materials can fluctuate – up and down – according to supply, demand and new technologies. Make sure you’re up to date on all the component parts that comprise your homeowners insurance policy. Staying abreast of changes will not only keep you informed, but it could also save you money when the time comes to compare policies and coverages with other insurance carriers.
It’s your responsibility. No matter how good your relationship is with your current insurance carrier or agent, at the end of the day saving money on your home insurance is your responsibility, not theirs. So, be vigilant and keep your eyes open for areas in which you can save money. A little here and a little there can add up to be a lot of money over the life of your insurance coverage. And, of course, you’ll always want to have insurance as long as you have a home to insure.
Read more articles pertaining to insurance in the section of articles on Gulf Shores Insurance just below Gulf Shores Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. Remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you'll check us out there, too.